February 2, 2007

Wind projected to produce 0.89% of U.S. electricity in 2030

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) of the Dept. of Energy, in their Annual Energy Outlook 2007, wind produced 0.36% (14.6 billion kWh) of the total electricity (4,036 billion kWh) generated in the U.S. in 2005. Wind provided 0.05% of all of the energy consumed (only 99.95% to go!).

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) the installed wind capacity was 6,725 MW at the beginning of 2005 and 9,149 MW at the end, an average installed capacity for 2005 of 7,937 MW. If we divide the EIA-reported generation by the 8,760 hours in a year, we find that the average rate of production was only 21% of capacity.

The EIA generously projects that wind will produce 0.89% of the total electricity generated in 2030. This is 22% lower than their previous year's projection. Of course even that ignores the fact that other sources have to burn extra fuel in the effort of balancing wind's intermittent and highly variable infeed.

See the comments in this space about AWEA's recent announcement of wind's 27% growth in 2006 (from 0.36% "penetration" to perhaps 0.45%).


AWEA recently noted that the 2,454 MW of wind "capacity" added in 2006 cost "approximately $4 billion." That's $1.63 million per megawatt.

According to budding energy giant AES Corporation, in its annual "Wind Generation Review" (Dec. 11, 2006) from Ned Hall, vice president for renewable generation, capital costs of installing wind have risen to $1.75 million per megawatt.

But AES also points out that "U.S. equity structures" (i.e., the Production Tax Credit, 5-year double-declining balance accelerated depreciation, sale of renewable energy credits, and other federal, state, and local subsidies) "provide return of all capital and development fees within five years." Not, of course, to the taxpayers: rather a hefty and swift transfer of public funds to private accounts.

For no benefit, but only harm to the environment, wildlife, people, and communities.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, anarchism, ecoanarchism, animal rights